27 June – Friday in the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time
2 Kings 25:1-12
In the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his whole army to attack Jerusalem; he pitched camp in front of the city and threw up earthworks round it. The city lay under siege till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, when famine was raging in the city and there was no food for the populace, a breach was made in the city wall. At once, the king made his escape under cover of dark, with all the fighting men, by way of the gate between the two walls, which is near the king’s garden – the Chaldaeans had surrounded the city – and made his way towards the Arabah. The Chaldaean troops pursued the king and caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, where all his troops deserted. The Chaldaeans captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. He had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before his eyes, then put out Zedekiah’s eyes and, loading him with chains, carried him off to Babylon.
In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month – it was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, an officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. The Chaldaean troops who accompanied the commander of the guard demolished the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the common people. The commander of the guard left some of the humbler country people as vineyard workers and ploughmen.
After he had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him. A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And his leprosy was cured at once. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them.’
A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him.
One morning when I was about six years old, I woke up to an empty house. I knew that my father had gone to work but where was my mother? I was so distraught I broke down and cried, then sobbed, in all a good half-hour. It turned out that my mother went to the market. When I heard the keys being turned in the lock and the door opening I ran right up to her and opened the floodgates once again. The empty house, without the familiar reassuring presence of both my parents, was transformed into something cold and uncertain.
Today we read about the final fall of the Israelite kings. The northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to foreign powers and now Judah joins her sister. The last king Zedekiah chose to revolt against Babylon even though he was warned not to by Jeremiah and had the example of his nephew’s defeat by Nebuchadnezzar. What was worst was that his rebellion came while Judah was in a state of banishment from God due to the evil ways of him and his people. Without the grace of God backing them, their loss was swift and the destruction thorough.
Bereft of love, no child grows up whole. Lacking sunlight, no seedling can live long after sprouting. Without loved ones, a house would not be a home. What more can be said for us my brothers and sisters, without the grace of God? Zedekiah should be lesson enough for us on that issue. God wants to give us His all. Of course He does! Can we first come up and bow low in front of him?
(Today’s reflection by Aloysius Ting)
Prayer: We pray for hearts, souls and minds which are always receptive to God.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for our family members who give us so much of themselves.
28 June, Sat – Lamentations 2:2. 10-14; Matthew 8:5-17 – Memorial of St Irenaeus
Vigil of Sts Peter and Paul – Acts 3:1-10; Galatians 1:11-20; John 21:15-19
29 June, Sun – Acts 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8. 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19 – Soleminty of Peter and Paul, Apostles
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